In what some TV pundits had already interpreted as a welcome mat set out by another network (ABC), Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly’s Wednesday visit to “Live With Kelly” instead turned into an explanation: Why did the major networks so badly misread the groundswell of support for president-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday night?
“The Kelly File” host said that “in the last election, we called [the race for Barack Obama] at eleven, so we figured we’d call it after 11 [this time], too,” she said. “You sit down with the first round of exit polls [data] at 5 p.m., and it was all bad news for Donald Trump, looking good for Hillary [Clinton].
“Then the real vote came in,” she said. The networks would finally call it for Trump early Wednesday, around 3 a.m.
To shape coverage on the nights of major elections, each of the networks rely on so-called exit poll data collected in crucial battleground states — most notably Florida. That data can be accurate — or badly off-base, which it was Tuesday, she said.
Of the dozens of polls which in the days and weeks leading up to the election also had Clinton ahead, Kelly said, “We think there really was a hidden Trump vote because when the pollsters called and asked if you were a likely voter, they didn’t count enough people who didn’t come out to vote in 2012 [because] they were then counted as ‘not likely.’ ”
She said another flaw was attributed to some respondents themselves: “They felt stigmatized,” she said, and didn’t want to be identified as Trump supporters.
Host Kelly Ripa welcomed the Fox News anchor just a few hours after she wrapped the network’s coverage of a historic election. But Ripa did not ask Kelly about her ongoing negotiations for a new contract with Fox as well as reports of ABC’s possible interest in signing her for a major prime-time role.